Florida Keys News
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Elected look to future

MARATHON -- Voters returned two incumbents to the Marathon City Council last week, and tapped a former councilman to fill the seat vacated by Pete Worthington.

Re-elected Councilman Dick Ramsay said one of his highest priorities as he returns to the dais is "to make sure the city, from an economic standpoint, is very stable."

He said he will continue to push for the Florida Keys Marathon Airport to become a port of entry, which he indicated would result in a "$38 million increase in income," as well as provide a significant number of new job opportunities.

Ramsay said he wants to "make sure residents can afford to live and work here."

"Once we've broken through the economic barrier, then we can look into new infrastructure projects," he said.

Last week, outing Mayor Worthington expressed support for a new city hall. He said the trailers currently used to store city documents and computers are at sea level and vulnerable to hurricane winds and flooding.

Ramsay disagrees.

"A new city hall is not in the best interest of the city at this time," he said last week. "We shouldn't spend money we don't have."

He added that city records are backed up and not in danger of being damaged.

"We absolutely will not lose any records," he said.

Ramsay said he hopes the City Council will remain conscious that Marathon is a small family town.

"Development needs to be controlled," he said. "We can't forget why we became a city. I mean no disrespect, but we never want to be a Key West."

Returning every phone call and answering every email is something he said he's always done and will continue to do.

"I never forget who I'm working for. I don't think I'm a big deal because I'm not," Ramsay said.

Former Councilman Chris Bull is returning to office and said one of the first things he'll do is present a report recommending a series of community workshops for residents and city officials to discuss Marathon's future.

Bull said he pictures "a grassroots-type of discussion" rather than one facilitated by a contracted, outside firm. He hopes the workshops will offer residents an opportunity to talk about what they like and what they don't about their community, as well as opening dialogue about what needs to change.

Bull said during the first three months he'll focus on "renewing contacts at the county and state level."

He said he's committed to "fight for [Marathon's] fair share of Mayfield money" and plans to "get at least $20 million," referring to the Stan Mayfield grant money earmarked for local wastewater projects.

Bull also said the city needs to reinstitute five-year capital infrastructure plans, which he said haven't been done for the past three years. In addition, he said the council must analyze data before making wastewater decisions. He said some of the previous council's decisions on wastewater "weren't forward looking" and were "reactive not proactive."

By analyzing data and using the Mayfield grant money, Bull said the council should be able to develop a "financially sound wastewater fund and lower the monthly rate" for the residents of Marathon.

Councilwoman Ginger Snead was also re-elected to office but did not returns calls for comment before press time.

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